Pet Peeve: Restaurant Wine Prices

I’m not alone in this, I know. For me, it’s the most difficult decision when dining out.

There is, apparently, a secret code for pricing wines at restaurants. And the code is progressive, variable, depending upon the wholesale cost, the prestige of the manufacturer or vintage, the prestige of the restaurant, the availability of the wine, the phase of the moon, and who knows what else. It is, quite frankly, baffling.

There’s nothing more frustrating than looking at a wine menu, seeing a Chez Knighton favorite marked up 3x more than what we can buy it at the grocery store. I KNOW I’m getting ripped off, and I hate it. This isn’t to say I don’t expect and intend to pay more than retail for the dining experience; I just don’t want my nice evening out ruined by a poor value on the wine list.

So, I’ve decided to do something about that. As a public service, for you, my friends.

Introducing: BWC Dines Out

Where I will share popular restaurant wine menus, and their retail prices. So we can find the best values on the list, enjoy great wines when dining out, and avoid getting ripped off.*

For example, I recently dinned at BJ’s Brewhouse, a fairly large chain; there’s probably one near you. BJ’s is primarily focused on beer, hence the name, but they do offer a selection of wines by the glass. One in particular is a Chez K favorite – Nobilio Sauvignon Blanc, offered at $9 per glass. Nine dollars per glass, friends. Which is slightly more expensive than I can buy the entire bottle at HEB. One glass cost more than the whole bottle. Total rip-off. Buy the prosecco on the menu instead, it’s only 2/3 the cost of the bottle.

So that’s the idea. I’ll do what I can to help you find a good value on the wine list. And maybe you could do me a favor, and send some examples of your own. We’d all benefit from the shared wisdom!

*Sorry Clark Howard. I had to steal that line. Because, really, isn’t that what it’s all about? Being a smart consumer and buying value, yes? I say yes!

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